The 130th meeting of the COST Committee of Senior Officials was held in Brussels on 8 and 9 January 1998. These regular meetings bring together officials from each of the 28 COST members, and are responsible for laying down general directions for COST activities. The January meeting approved nine new Actions, and approved the extension of seven existing Actions. The total number of ongoing COST Actions is now 153 in a wide range of fields. The Committee also approved participation by institutes from non-COST members in six current COST Actions. The establishment of an ad hoc working group on nanosciences and nanotechnology was approved by the Committee, and this group will report within one year. Observers from Bulgaria, Cyprus, Latvia and Lithuania, which have all applied to join COST, participated in the meeting for the first time. With a view to developing cooperative activities with other European research initiatives, the Committee discussed the perspectives for COST in respect of the forthcoming Fifth RTD Framework Programme of the European Union. In particular, they considered the planned horizontal programme "Confirming the international role of Community research". The Committee also heard a presentation from INTAS, the International Association for Cooperation with Scientists from the New Independent States of the former Soviet Union, on recent developments and possible synergies with COST. Finally, the Portuguese delegation, which currently chairs EUREKA, offered to host a future meeting of the Committee with the aim of deepening coordination between COST and EUREKA. This meeting will be held in Lisbon on 25 and 26 June 1998, the week before the annual EUREKA Ministerial Conference.